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This week's portion in the FJMC Sefer Haftarah scroll, the travelling haftarah scroll that visits a different synagogue each week and contains all of the haftarot, was sponsored by the Men's Club of Har Zion Congregation, Scottsdale, AZ, in memory of Sid Katz, and by the Men's Club of the Forest Hills Jewish Center, Forest Hills, NY.


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Rabbi Paul Drazen
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November 18, 2011 / 21 Heshvan, 5772

Hayye Sarah
1†Kings 1:1-31

The book of Deuteronomy ends with the death of Moses. The book of Joshua ends with the death of Joshua. Saul, the first King of Israel dies at the end of the first book of Samuel but King David dies at the beginning of the first book of Kings. Usually heroes, leaders, die at the end of the book at the end of their story, but the author of the Book of Kings must have desired to make a specific point when he chose to reverse this order.

It is possible that the connecting thread that links the Torah portion and the haftarah reading provides a hint to the authorís reason for this reversal. The Torah reading for Hayye Sarah is connected to the haftorah thematically through the common link of aging. In each text the phrase ďold and advanced in yearsí appears in the Torah we are concerned with the death of Abraham. In the haftarah it is the death of David. It is possible that this connection was made to challenge us to consider the consequences of two distinctly different approaches to aging.

The haftarah is composed of four incidents. The first we see David as an old man, weak and frail, and most likely cold and alone at night. Perhaps he was so lonely that he had to summon a young girl to provide him with warmth. The text is very explicit it wasnít for sex. The second incident revolves around the plotting of his son, Adonijah, who desperately wants to succeed his father. The third incident reveals yet another of the conspiracies and plotting that surround Davidís life as Bathsheva politically maneuvers her way to insure that her son, Solomon, succeeds his father even though he is the youngest son. Finally the author of our story allows us to learn the fatherís response to all the plotting and chicanery that was necessary to assure Solomonís succession.

Davidís legacy was a reflection of the life he had lived.As Michael Fishbane states in his haftorah commentary, ďa manipulator in his lifetime, David was manipulated in his old age.Ē It took the creativity of the rabbinic tradition to develop a broader vision of David and to paint him as a truly noble figure.

Abraham, on the other hand, enters old age with dignity and integrity. After the death of Sarah he purchases burial plot for his family and he begins to prepare his family for his forthcoming demise. He makes his servant Eliezer swear that his son Isaac will marry within the clan. He bequeaths gifts to the children of his concubines thus avoiding contentious fighting that could take place after his death. All of us know how painful the division of property can be for siblings with issues when their parentsí possessions need to be divided.

The haftarah suggests that the manner in which we choose to conduct ourselves in life often is reflective of how those who follow us choose to live. Our lives surely serve as a model for our children. The haftorah reminds us that how we choose to model ourselves makes a difference both for us and those who succeed us.

This week's Haftarah commentary was written by
Rabbi Charles Simon, Executive Director of the FJMC and author of
"Building A Successful Volunteer Culture: Finding Meaning in Service in the Jewish" Jewish Lights Publishing.

The opinions expressed in this Unraveller are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the FJMC.


Build a Pair

4 Out of 5 Rabbis Agree
(Hard to Believe, Isn't It?)
The Best Way to Attract Adults to Temple is Through The Children

In its 8th year, FJMC's Build-a-Pair program started as a club program at Beth El Congregation in Pittsburgh, PA,† won a Torch Award, and has really taken off as a great way to help make the mystical Mitzvah of Tefillin accessible to young and old.† More than 8,000 children in 100 synagogues have decorated, learned about, and worn their Model Tefillin.†

Click Here to go to the Build-a-Pair page on the FJMC website where you will find all kinds of amazing information about this program. † † †

Designed for children in 5th - 7th grades, Build-a-Pair can also be used for adults looking for a fun, easy way to get started with Tefillin! ††

FJMC's BUILD-A-PAIR
The proven introduction to tefillin for our youth - order today!


Build a PairFJMC's Shoah Yellow Candle Program

The FJMC's Shoah Yellow Candle program is all about remembrance through one simple home observance, the lighting of our candle.
It is never too early to start preparing for your club's Yom Hashoah program. For more information, go to the www.yellowcandles.org website.

Light A Candle, Preserve A Memory.
Order online today! Quantity discounts available, call the Yellow Candle Hotline: (800) 391-7293 (after 9AM MST)


WORLD WIDE WRAP XII
Sunday, February 4, 2011
Register your club today at http://www.worldwidewrap.org

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